U.S. will require most new immigrants to get coronavirus vaccine

In this file photo from 2007, skilled immigrants, including doctors and engineers, rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, to protest long delays in getting green cards. (Washington Post photo by Jahi Chikwendiu)

The United States will require new immigrants to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as part of its routine medical examination, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Tuesday.

The measure goes into effect on Oct. 1. Most people applying to become a permanent resident in the United States are required to receive the immigration medical examination “to show they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under the health-related grounds,” according to USCIS.

The United States already requires a slew of other vaccinations for permanent resident applicants, including measles, polio, influenza and tetanus.

The coronavirus vaccination requirement follows updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USCIS said. Exceptions to the requirement will be allowed for medical conditions, if there is a lack of vaccine supply or if the vaccine is “not age-appropriate” for the immigration applicant, USCIS said. Religious or “moral convictions” exemptions may be requested on a case-by-case basis.

The announcement comes after the Biden administration last week unveiled a sweeping set of vaccination mandates, requiring federal employees to get immunized against the coronavirus, and ordering businesses with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations or weekly testing.

The Biden administration has struggled to increase vaccinations, which have plateaued in recent days after a slight increase in August. More than 63 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, with 54 percent of the country’s population fully vaccinated, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.



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